I'm about to start the third full day of portfolio reviews for Photolucida in Portland. If you aren't familiar, Photolucida is a wonderful photography festival that hosts portfolio reviews every other year. For four days, photographers sit with a wide range of industry professionals for 20 minutes at a time to get feedback on their work, and hopefully opportunities for exhibition and publication. Yesterday I was on a sequencing tear. It seemed that so many photographers I met with had not paid enough attention to the order the images were in. I cannot stress enough how the sequence can make or break the edit in a portfolio. So I felt inspired to think about advice that would help a photographer think about how to best sequence their work -
Quite simply, the flow needs to work. Let the story unfold in a clear, logical way that makes sense as the viewer moves from one image to another. Make sure you are telling the complete story without hiccups (images that take the viewer off-track) or holes. Allow the viewer to move seamlessly through the work. Keep a consistent vibe and feeling, building a narrative or emotional arc without disrupting the viewer’s eyes or emotions.
In addition to considering a logical ordering strategy (chronological, narrative, etc.), pay attention to aesthetic qualities in the photographs. Colors and shapes can bridge transitions between images and create a smooth flow. Less obvious connections also create an interesting sequence. Consider what associations a straight read of an image bring to mind and what other image in the series creates a logical link to it.
Looking for help tightening your project? Read more here.